Already, most companies support BYOPC, even if they don't think they do. After all, a home PC or Mac is definitely a BYO device, so any employee working from home on their equipment is part of your BYOPC reality. Expect that reality to grow more formalized in the workplace, partly due to the increasing sales of Macs: 11 percent of new PCs in the United States in 2011 were from Apple, and more than 7 percent in the United Kingdom and Western Europe. However, keep in mind that people who use computers for the most value tend to be those who work from home and on the road, and they want the same mix of personal and work capabilities on their laptops as they get on their smartphones.
This should result in the same equipment savings that companies have seen in BYOD, but the management approaches to BYOPC are trickier, mainly because most companies manage PCs not at all or to much lower standards than they do mobile devices. For example, despite years of recommendations from security experts, few companies encrypt PCs' drives, whereas on-device encryption is expected for mobile devices by many businesses. There's real hypocrisy at play here: IT and vendors propose much higher controls over mobile devices than over PCs that have so much more data. Notably, 10 percent of laptops get lost over a three-year period.
As with mobile, there's an uneven mix of security tools, application distribution and management tools, and remote lock and wipe capabilities for PCs. Windows PCs have long had tools to manage the provisioning of apps and lock them down. Nonetheless, the concept of managing the content on those PCs, such as to prevent unauthorized use of data and to lock or wipe compromised PCs, is new to IT (and vendors) in the context of computers.
It would make sense for mobile management tools and computer management tools to merge, but the MDM vendors tell me they get almost no demand for such a unified product, partly because the people who manage mobile devices have nothing to do with the people who manage PCs; in turn, the latter group has little to do with the people who manage back-end systems, networks, and databases. Perhaps Windows 8 will force the issue, as it brings in a truly mobile version of Windows that runs essentially a new operating system (the Metro UI) and makes data movement across devices a fundamental capability for applications -- moreso than Apple's iCloud does.
I suspect this morass of management will take several years to work out, but the direction is to flexibility, heterogeneity, and policy-based management regardless of endpoint.
First BYOD, then BYPOC, and ultimately BYOT (bring your own technology, such as applications, cloud services, and more) -- the technology fabric in our business is undergoing radical transformation at the user end. That's ultimately a good thing, but it will cause a real shakeup in the interim.
The InfoWorld BYOD reading list
- The real force behind the consumerization of IT
- InfoWorld's BYOD and Mobile Deep Dive PDF special report
- Mobile BYOD startegy reveals if your CIO is good or bad
- InfoWorld's Mobile Edge blog and Smart User blog
- Who should own your smartphones?
- The simple way for IT to support iPads and iPhones
- Android invades the enterprise: How to handle it
- Spurred by mobile, rethinking the wireless LAN
- Contextual mobile management: How real is the promise?
- Solving IT's mobile app deployment dilemma
- Mobile application management without the heavy hand
- What the app store future means for developers and users
- Watch out, Apple: Windows 8 could trump the iPad
- InfoWorld's "Business Mac" Deep Dive PDF special how-to report